Testimony of Edward Kropp,
West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection,
before the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Wet Lands, Private Property and Nuclear Safety,
Committee on Environment and Public Works
Tuesday, October 6, 1998

Good morning. My name is Edward Kropp and I am an Assistant Chief of the West Virginia Office of Air Quality. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you this morning.

One of the important aspects of S. 1097, the Acid Deposition Control Act, is the continued effort to regulate emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which has already been the subject of regulation in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and, in addition, is an ozone precursor. West Virginia is concerned about the imposition of additional stringent controls on NOx emissions from sources in West Virginia which appear to be based upon politics and rhetoric rather than environmental science. Indeed, on September 24, 1998, EPA announced a final rule which would require 22 states and the District of Columbia to drastically reduce emissions of NOx in an effort to mitigate the long-range transport of ozone into the Northeast. West Virginia believes that neither the EPA NOx reduction rule, known as the Ozone Transport Assessment Group (OTAG) SIP Call, nor any additional NOx controls which might be imposed under S.1097 can be economically justified when compared to the relatively insignificant environmental benefits which might result.

EPA sponsored OTAG, which was a stakeholder process taking place between approximately May of 1995 and June of 1997. The OTAG process included scientific modeling to test a hypothesis that long range (on the order of 600 or so miles) transport of ozone was occurring from the Midwest and Southeast to the Northeast, exacerbating non-attainment of the 1-hour ozone standard in the Northeast. A key conclusion of the OTAG process was that emission reductions yield the greatest benefit locally and that benefits decrease as distance from the controlled source increases. Further, OTAG concluded that regional NOx reductions produce regional ozone reduction benefits. Finally, OTAG modeling data (copy attached) indicates that literally shutting down all man-made sources of NOx emissions in the Midwest will not result in the Northeast attaining the old 1-hour ozone standard.

In November of 1997, EPA proposed its OTAG SIP Call to reduce NOx, and requested comments on the proposed rule. West Virginia and twelve other states, all subject to the SIP Call, time and again submitted comments to EPA without ever receiving a formal response to our comments. Moreover, West Virginia and five other states jointly submitted an alternative (copy attached) to the proposed EPA rule on June 25, 1998. The alternative proposal focused on attaining the new 8-hour standard rather than mitigating transport to solve the Northeast attainment problems with the old 1-hour standard. Seven other states submitted alternate proposals which focused on attainment of the new standard as well.

Regrettably, EPA has continued to ignore the efforts of all thirteen states to collaborate with EPA to attain the 8-hour standard, instead focusing on EPA's effort to reduce NOx emissions primarily from Midwest and Southeast power plants. In addition to proposing power plant NOx emission reductions of 85% and overall state NOx emission reductions of as much as 51% from 1990 levels in the case of West Virginia, EPA touts the new NOx reduction rule as being flexible because it allows sources in the Midwest and Southeast to trade emissions between sources in order to distribute the emission reduction burden. West Virginia believes that such "flexibility" must be tied to air quality science and, in the case of the EPA rule, submits that EPA has once again ignored science in order to level economic playing fields, i.e., controlling Midwest NOx power plants to raise the cost of electricity to levels more nearly equal to those in the Northeast.

West Virginia has, on numerous occasions, attempted to provide EPA with input regarding the NOx rule and our position remains both unchanged and scientifically supported. West Virginia believes that power plant NOx reductions of 65% from 1990 levels will result in attainment of the new 8-hour standard in most, if not all, of West Virginia. In addition, power plant reductions in excess of 65% may be necessary to ameliorate any ozone transport from West Virginia occurring in the 150-200 mile range which OTAG concluded was likely to occur. The EPA OTAG SIP Call will result in the expenditure, in West Virginia alone, of approximately $1 billion dollars in excess of the cost of 65% reductions while providing virtually no discernible concomitant environmental benefit in the Northeast.

West Virginia urges that EPA be required to reconsider its ill-conceived one-size-fits-all OTAG SIP Call to reduce NOx emissions and that any further Midwest and Southeast power plant NOx emission reductions which might be required as a result of S. 1097 be deleted from the ct. Thank you for your attention.